On Management as Reflected in the Administration of the Biblical King David

On Management as Reflected in the Administration of the Biblical King David

Posted on:Nov 23 2009
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There are lessons to be learned from David’s management of Israel. One might immediately disqualify him as a standard, as a model, because he was a king and thus carried a kind of supreme authority not invested in the typical manager. But the story of the Shepherd King reflects many of the challenges faced by today’s manager.

As I have taught elsewhere, management is shaping an effort towards an objective. I believe it is accomplished through people. It is done by a person with other people who form an organizational person – an entity. Thus you shape efforts by shaping people. And this is precisely how David worked.

The Biblical account demonstrates the process in detail. Essentially David attracted and managed people in an effort to accomplish an objective. The attraction process can be traced all the way back to the beginning, when he drew more than four hundred men to his cause, and later as he won the hearts of the entire nation.

The management process can be seen throughout the account of his reign. We might at least note that David carefully developed an organization (with an actual org chart). He managed trade-offs (consider the story of Joab). He incentivized and motivated his team (the taking of Jerusalem). He focused them on strategy and execution (the fortification of the territories), and so on…

The main point is this: the Scholar/Leader may distill practical, present-tense insights from this ancient narrative without jeopardizing their intellectual integrity.

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